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How To Write A Good Review

Posted by Velox , Sep 14 2009 · 177 views

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How To Review

First off, this is by no means the way you "must" review, but rather the way I find easiest. It's mainly to help people to give better reviews, to those that struggle with doing so.

I have reviewed many things, and what pains me most is to see short and "spammy" [maybe not spam according to BZP, but according to me they are] reviews that say "Awesome I love it! The *blank* is especially cool!", or other short one-sentence reviews like that. Reviews, in my opinion, are meant to help people get better. Anyway, without further ado, the review!

First off, I recommend reading through Nikira's own Reviewing How-To. I'll be referencing it and commenting on it later in my own guide, so it's good to read that first.

I'll start with reviews on pieces of literature [specifically, short stories, at the moment]:

I find that the easiest way to write a review for a piece of written work is to quote the story [as in, reply directly to the first post so you have their story in the reply box]. Then, read through the story, and whenever you notice that something is wrong, you see something you especially like, or you see something that you think should be changed, etc., put that sentence [or paragraph, or whatever] into a quote box, and comment on it.

Do that for everything you find [I suggest also commenting on the title -- titles are what make people click on the link to go to the topic, and so it is extremely important to have a good title. If the title is horrible, make sure you let them know that in a kind way, and suggestions on how to make a better one].

Once you've finished going through the story, read through it again [unless it's an epic, then it isn't necessarily necessary to read through it twice] and focus on the plot, characters, etc., and once you've finished reading it, write up a paragraph or two about what you think of the story as a whole. Make sure to mention if you like/don't like [and why] the way the author portrayed the characters, laid out the plot, described scenes, etc.

For reviewing an epic there are two ways to make a good review:

1) Do what I said above, but for each chapter [it's easiest to do this while they're posting it, so you only have to review one chapter at a time].

2) If the epic is finished [or in-progress, at least] and you want to review the whole thing at once, then read through the whole epic, and try to remember the way they portrayed the characters, introduced the characters [character introduction is very important], set up the scenes, described things, etc., and after you're done reading through the whole epic [sometimes it helps to have another tab open with the reply box, so as you're reading and you notice something, you can type it in], type out in a few paragraphs or so what you think of it [be sure to list the way they introduced the characters, set up the scenes, etc., and talk about the overall plot and storyline].

For reviewing Comedies, I'm not exactly sure what works best, as I have never reviewed one yet myself [except in my newbie days, in which case the reviews were probably just "Awesome i luv it!!1" -- bad reviews, BTW =P], but I would assume doing something similar to the way you would review an epic would be the right way. I'll have to try some time, since I am the Curator of the Comedies Critics Club.

Now, remember this when reviewing a piece of literature:

-Give Encouraging Comments
-Give Constructive Criticism [be constructive when you critique something. If you can't say it in a nice manner, then just don't say it]

Those two things are vital in writing a review [read Nikira's guide for more]. At the end of the review, simply say a few encouraging comments -- it's not that hard, and it makes many people feel a lot better, especially after a longer review that critiques a lot of things.

Also in a review, remember to do the following:

-Talk about plot
-Talk about characters
-Point out spelling/grammatical errors
-Point out if the title is good or bad, and why [if it's bad, say how to make it better in a kind way]

Those things are also vital in writing a review for a piece of literature. There must be good plot, characters, spelling, grammar, and title in stories, and so it is your job when you review to point those things out.

For writing review for BBC:

The easiest thing for me is to just take one thing at a time. Take the arm, and say everything you can about it. What you like, don't like, why you like/don't like it, and how to fix it [if possible -- if not, say "I'm not exactly sure how to fix it" or something like that -- pointing out things doesn't help if the MOCer doesn't know how to fix them]. Then, repeat that for all the parts of the MOC [Legs, body, head, feet, weapons, etc., etc.].

Remember, when writing any type of review it is necessary to add Encouraging Comments and Constructive Criticism. If you cannot critique something nicely, don't critique it. Read Nikira's guide [linked above] for more about those two things.


That's about it . . . I'll probably make a separate entry for the Grammar Guide and change the link, but for now it's just a link to my post in the BZPRPG General Discussion Topic.

Comments, questions, disagreements, etc. may be made [but be civil -- I have no problem with deleting rude comments] either here or by PM to me. I'd love to know what you guys think of this, so just drop a comment if you agree/disagree and why. :]

Thanks for reading.

  • 0

Aug 25 2009 11:49 AM
^One of many.

But yeah, I agree...I mean, you don't necessarily have to do exactly this, but whatever works for you. I can't see why it's so hard to write a good review. I never had to try that hard...
    • 0
"How To Write a Good Review"

Guess, and hope that you are correct.

Or is that test taking strategies...?

    • 0
Step 0. Go somewhere else other than BZP.

    • 0
I just read reviews and review techniques from authors who write professionally/what actual critics write up on professional writing websites =P

Of course, my reviews are more on the technical side of things, simply because if I don't dislike it, I don't write a paragraph on it. And partly cuz I forget to leave little ego-boosting comments after I go at the story each line at a time... probly cuz I'm just used to reviewing the RPGs which is more pointing out what to change than handing out a small ego-boost at the end...
    • 0

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